Texans are familiar with the summer heat, but when it comes to the winter months, we are often ill-prepared. We know cold temperatures and rain are part of our winter, but we are not immune to snow either. While the weather is milder, now is the time to start taking precautions to protect your home from potential weather emergencies including flooding. Follow the tips below from Aladdin on how to winterize your home.
Weather Prep Inside
First, we recommend conducting a thorough inspection of your home to determine what needs your attention in order to prevent cool air from coming in and pipes from freezing.
Avoid being left without heat in the middle of a freeze with preventive maintenance on your HVAC. Quick tune-ups can extend the life of your equipment as well as changing your filters once every three months. It is recommended to have your HVAC serviced at least once annually, and before winter is one of the best times to do that.
Air duct cleaning is a great way to winterize your home. Since most of us spend more time indoors during the winter, it’s a good idea to maintain healthy indoor air quality and increase your home’s heating efficiency. Take our Air Duct Quiz today and see if it’s time for one of Aladdin’s certified experts to clean up your air ducts.
Food / Pantry Stocking
Keeping a variety of non-perishable essentials on hand is another way to prepare in the event of a weather-related emergency. If your pantry is well-stocked with a supply of drinking water, canned fruits and veggies and high-protein canned items, you can put together a nutritious and filling meal – even if your electric stove leaves you out in the cold.
We may not always be able to predict how much impact a winter storm or extreme cold will cause, but it’s good to be prepared. Think about what helped you during the winter storm of 2021, or what you wish you’d had? Having an emergency kit on hand can also help alleviate any anxiety that may occur due to a high-stress situation like we’ve seen in the past. Some necessities to consider: blankets, socks, flashlights, batteries, a box of matches, cash in case your credit card doesn’t work, and it’s also a great idea to invest in battery packs (a robust one at the house and a min version in your vehicle) to keep your phones/devices charged.
Weather Prep Outside
Last, but still as important, is preparing the outside of your home before the sleet hits the ground. From trimming the trees to protecting the pipes, save your home from what could otherwise be a winter disaster.
Improve Soil Grading
When the ground surface slopes towards a home or foundation, this is considered negative soil grading, meaning that excess water from storms or melt-offs can contribute to water flowing toward the home. Reversing negative grading can be as simple as removing plants, shrubs, and grass from negative draining areas and adding soil to level it out. However, it can be a difficult task depending on the extent of the problem. Avoid things going further “downhill” if you find yourself in this situation and call in a yard grading expert for assistance. If you find yourself in a place where it’s too late for preventative measures, and you have water leaking into your home, call us 24/7 for emergency remediation services.
Trim Trees and Remove Dead Limbs
Serious injuries and property damage occur every year from trees that have become weak due to high wind, heavy rain, and ice. Winterize trees and shrubs by removing visibly damaged wood, twigs, branches and bark. Those branches don’t look so bad way up there, but when they fall, they can do major damage to roofs, skylights, windows and more.
Extra Tip: Most trees benefit from pruning when they are completely dormant in the winter months. So, it’s the perfect time to sip hot cocoa by the fireplace while your favorite arborist gets to trimming!
Have Your Drainage System Checked or Install One
With rain and potential snow to worry about during the winter months, it’s critical to have a fully-working drainage system. Drainage systems are installed underground and help prevent flooding on your property. Since the procedure for draining your pipes isn’t always easy, we recommend calling in a professional drain contractor to help avoid any property damage. If you have areas that are prone to flooding during heavy downpours or winter weather, you might want to consider installing a French drain to remove that excess water.
As mentioned in our Fall Cleaning Checklist, it’s important to make sure your gutters are winter-ready. When leaves and branches build up in the gutters, they prevent rainwater and melted snow from flowing freely, which in turn can cause water to seep into the house. If you decide to clean the gutters on your own, remember to practice ladder safety and don’t get on one unsupervised. Otherwise, call a professional for a more hands-off approach.
Prevent Frozen Pipes
When the weather is cold outside, there are some preventive measures you can take to avoid frozen pipes.
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors – this allows warmer air to circulate around the indoor plumbing.
- Drip cold water in the farthest faucet from your main valve – even with only a trickle, this helps prevent pipes from freezing.
- Insulate pipes in outdoor and/or unheated areas. Towels and plastic bags will do in a pinch but those dense foam pipe covers are the real deal! Should your pipes freeze/burst, be sure you know where the main water shut-off valve is located for your home so that you can turn off the water immediately. The main valve is often located where the water supply enters your house, usually outside of the house near the street or driveway.
With winter being right around the corner, we are hopeful that these tips will help you be better prepared for the next Snowpocalypse. And if you need us, Aladdin is here to help with your air duct cleaning needs and water damage/emergency restoration 24×7, should this season get the better of us, despite all our planning.